Widespread damage, deaths reported after magnitude 7.2 earthquake strikes Haiti

Authorities reported at least 227 people were killed and hundreds were wounded or missing when a massive earthquake rocked southern Haiti on Saturday, destroying churches, hotels, and houses in the latest tragedy to strike the Caribbean country.

The 7.2-magnitude quake, followed by a series of aftershocks, hit at a depth of 10 km 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the community of Petit Trou de Nippes, approximately 150 kilometers west of the capital Port-au-Prince.

The quake was felt as far away as Cuba and Jamaica, suggesting that it was possibly larger and stronger than the one that killed tens of thousands 11 years ago.

Haiti’s prime minister declares a month-long state of emergency after hundreds of people were killed in the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince. Many buildings collapsed or suffered major damage in Les Cayes town, where many people are still missing. Authorities say they are searching for survivors, and the death toll stands at 227.

“I saw bodies being pulled out of the rubble, injured and perhaps dead people,” Jean Marie Simon, 38, of Les Cayes, was in the market when the earthquake hit and rushed home to check on his family’s safety. “I heard cries of pain everywhere I passed through… “There are a lot of aftershocks and every time there’s one, people run and shout,.. my legs are still trembling,” he said.

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) also recorded a 7.6 magnitude quake in the area, while Cuba’s seismological center reported a 7.4 magnitude quake.

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